Public Hearings for the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement, 8856-8858 [E8-2810]

Download as PDF 8856 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 32 / Friday, February 15, 2008 / Notices public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Except for advertised (scheduled) public hearings and public comment, the times and sequence specified on this agenda are subject to change. Special Accommodations These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council office (see ADDRESSES) by February 29, 2008. Dated: February 12, 2008. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–2888 Filed 2–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Notice; Establishment of Energy Markets Advisory Committee The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has determined to establish a new advisory committee, the Energy Markets Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to conduct public meetings, to submit reports and recommendations to the Commission, and otherwise to serve as a vehicle for discussion and communication on matters of concern to exchanges, firms, end users and regulators regarding energy markets and their regulation by the Commission. The Energy Markets Advisory Committee will have no operational responsibilities. The Commission will seek to achieve a balanced membership by appointing representatives of a cross section of the groups and interests involved in or affected by the Commission’s actions in the energy area. The charter of the Energy Markets Advisory Committee will become effective upon its filing pursuant to 5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 9(c). The Commission expects to file the charter promptly upon completion of the 15 day notice period specified by 41 CFR 102–3.65(b). The Commission has determined that establishment of the Energy Markets Advisory Committee is in the public interest and is necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its responsibilities in the most effective and responsive manner. Since the enactment of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, there have been important new developments in energy markets that create a need for consideration of adjustments in current VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:50 Feb 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 regulatory and legislative approaches to ensure that the Commission has the means to protect market integrity and competition, while preserving opportunities for innovation and increases in efficiency. This is particularly true in light of evidence that some of the newer energy markets that have emerged since the Modernization Act have taken on some of the characteristics and pricediscovery functions of traditional futures markets. Moreover, there is every reason to expect that both the importance of markets for managing risks associated with the price and availability of energy and innovation in the structure and operation of such markets will continue to expand, raising new regulatory issues in the future. In these circumstances, an advisory committee focused on energy markets will significantly advance the Commission’s ability to carry out its mission. Interested persons may obtain information by writing to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW., Washington, DC 20581. Issued in Washington, DC on February 11, 2008, by the Commission. David A. Stawick, Secretary of the Commission. [FR Doc. E8–2953 Filed 2–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351–01–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, Scientific Advisory Board Department of Defense. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: This Notice is published in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463). The topic of the meeting on March 11–12, 2008 is to review new start and continuing research and development projects requesting Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program funds in excess of $1 M. This meeting is open to the public. Any interested person may attend, appear before, or file statements with the Scientific Advisory Board at the time and in the manner permitted by the Board. DATES: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 12, 2008 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 SERDP Program Office Conference Center, 901 North Stuart Street, Suite 804, Arlington, VA 22203. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sharee Malcolm, SERDP Program Office, 901 North Stuart Street, Suite 303, Arlington, VA or by telephone at (703) 696–2119. ADDRESSES: Dated: February 8, 2008. L.M. Bynum, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. 08–677 Filed 2–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Public Hearings for the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training Draft Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and regulations implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508), and Presidential Executive Order 12114, the Department of the Navy (Navy) has prepared and filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS) on February 8, 2008, which evaluates the potential environmental effects associated with the use of mid- and high-frequency active sonar technology and the improved extended echo ranging (IEER) system during Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) activities within and adjacent to existing Navy Operating Areas (OPAREAs) located along the East Coast of the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico. Navy OPAREAs include designated ocean areas near fleet concentration areas (i.e., homeports). OPAREAs are where the majority of routine Navy training and research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) activities occur. However, Navy training exercises are not confined to the OPAREAs. Some training exercises or portions of exercises are conducted seaward of the OPAREAs and a limited amount of active sonar use is conducted in water areas shoreward of the OPAREAs. A Notice of Intent for this Draft EIS/OEIS was published in the Federal Register on 29 September 2006 (71 FR 57489). E:\FR\FM\15FEN1.SGM 15FEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 32 / Friday, February 15, 2008 / Notices The Navy will conduct six public hearings to receive oral and written comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS. Federal agencies, state agencies, and local agencies and interested individuals are invited to be present or represented at the public hearings. This notice announces the dates and locations of the public hearings for this Draft EIS/OEIS. DATES AND ADDRESSES: An open house session will precede the scheduled public hearing at each of the locations listed below and will allow individuals to review the information presented in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. Navy representatives will be available during the open house sessions to clarify information related to the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. All meetings will start with an open house session from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A formal presentation and public comment period will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Public hearings will be held on the following dates and at the following locations: March 4, 2008 at the Tidewater Community College, Advanced Technology Center, Technology Theater, Faculty Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia; March 6, 2008 at Boston University, Kenmore Classroom Building, Room 101, 565 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts; March 11, 2008 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center, 1st Floor, Quads 1 and 2, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead City, North Carolina; March 13, 2008 at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, Atlantic Ballroom, 20 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; March 18, 2008 at the Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts, Lakeside Conference Room, 11901 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida; and March 19, 2008 at the Florida State University, Panama City Campus, Auditorium, 4750 Collegiate Drive, Panama City, Florida. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Attention, Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet Sonar Project Manager), 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508–1278; phone 757–322–4767 for a recorded message; or http:// afasteis.gcsaic.com. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Proposed Action is to designate areas where mid- and high-frequency active sonar and the IEER system training, maintenance, and RDT&E activities will occur, and to conduct these activities. AFAST training and RDT&E activities involving active sonar and the IEER system are collectively described as active sonar activities in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. These active sonar VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:58 Feb 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 activities are not new and do not involve significant changes in systems, tempo, or intensity from past activities. The purpose of the Proposed Action is to provide active sonar training for U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet ship, submarine, and aircraft crews, and to conduct RDT&E activities to support the requirements of the Fleet Readiness Training Plan (FRTP) and stay proficient in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine Warfare (MIW) skills. The FRTP is the Navy’s training cycle that requires naval forces to build up in preparation for operational deployment and to maintain a high level of proficiency and readiness while deployed. The FRTP requires Basic Unit Level Training (ULT), Intermediate ULT, and Sustainment Training. The Navy meets these requirements during Independent ULT, Coordinated ULT, and Strike Group Training. At the beginning of the cycle, basic combat skills are learned and practiced during basic Independent ULT activities. Basic skills are then refined during Coordinated ULT. Strike Group Training is integrated training using progressively more difficult, complex, and large-scale exercises conducted at an increasing tempo. This training provides the warfighter with the skills necessary to function as part of a coordinated fighting force in a hostile environment with the capacity to accomplish multiple missions. Surface ships and submarines participating in the training also must conduct active sonar maintenance pier side and during transit to the training exercise location. The active sonar maintenance is required to ensure that the sonar system is operating properly before engaging in the training exercise or when the sonar systems are suspected of operating at levels below optimal performance. Additionally, RDT&E provides the Navy the capability of developing new active sonar systems and ensuring their safe and effective implementation for the Atlantic Fleet. The RDT&E activities analyzed in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS are similar to, and coincident with, Atlantic Fleet training events and have not been previously evaluated in other environmental planning documents. The Navy’s need for training and RDT&E is found in Title 10 of the USC, Section 5062 (10 U.S.C. 5062). Title 10 U.S.C. 5062 requires the Navy to be ‘‘organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.’’ The current and emerging training and RDT&E activities addressed in this Draft EIS/OEIS are conducted in fulfillment of this legal requirement. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 8857 The Draft EIS/OEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of four alternatives. Under Alternative 1, Designate Fixed Active Sonar Areas, fixed active sonar areas would be designated using an environmental analysis to determine locations that would minimize environmental effects to biological resources while still meeting operational requirements. These areas would be available for use year-round. Under Alternative 2, Designate Seasonal Active Sonar Areas, active sonar training areas would be designated using the same environmental analysis conducted under Alternative 1. The areas would be adjusted seasonally to minimize effects to marine resources while still meeting minimum operational requirements. Under Alternative 3, Designate Areas of Increased Awareness, the results of the environmental analysis conducted for Alternative 1 and 2 were used in conjunction with a qualitative environmental analysis of sensitive habitats to identify areas of increased awareness. Active sonar would not be conducted within these areas of increased awareness. The No Action Alternative can be regarded as continuing with the present course of action. Under the No Action Alternative, the Navy would continue conducting active sonar activities within and adjacent to existing OPAREAs rather than designate active sonar areas or areas of increased awareness. The No Action Alternative is the Navy’s Operationally Preferred Alternative. The Navy analyzed potential impacts on multiple resources including, but not limited to, the marine environment, marine life, and socioeconomic resources. No significant adverse impacts are identified for any resource area in any geographic location within the AFAST Study Area that cannot be mitigated, with the exception of exposure of marine mammals and sea turtles to underwater sound. NMFS has received a request for Letter of Authorization (LOA) in accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act to authorize the incidental take of marine mammals that may result from the implementation of the activities analyzed in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. In addition, the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS will serve as the Biological Evaluation (BE) to enter into consultation with NMFS in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to authorize the incidental take of endangered or threatened marine mammals and sea turtles that may result from the implementation of the E:\FR\FM\15FEN1.SGM 15FEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 8858 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 32 / Friday, February 15, 2008 / Notices activities analyzed in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. ESA consultation is complete once NMFS prepares a final Biological Opinion and issues an incidental take statement. The AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS was distributed to Federal, State, and local agencies, elected officials, and other interested individuals and organizations on February 8, 2007. The public comment period will end on March 31, 2008. Copies of the AFAST Draft EIS/ OEIS are available for public review at the following libraries: Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland, Maine; New London Public Library, 63 Huntington Street, New London, Connecticut; Kirn Memorial Library, 301 East City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia; Carteret County Public Library, 210 Turner Street, Morehead City, North Carolina; Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, South Carolina; Jacksonville Public Library, 303 North Laura Street, Jacksonville, Florida; Bay County Public Library, 25 West Government Street, Panama City, Florida; Corpus Christi Public Library—Central Library, 805 Comanche, Corpus Christi, Texas; Boston Public Library—Central Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts; Ann Arundel County Public Library, 1410 West Street, Annapolis, Maryland; and Camden County Public Library, 1410 Highway 40 East, Kingsland, Georgia. The AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS is also available for electronic public viewing at http://afasteis.gcsaic.com. A paper copy of the Executive Summary or a single CD with the AFAST Draft EIS/ OEIS will be made available upon written request by contacting Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Attention: Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet Sonar Project Manager), 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508–1278, Fax: 888–875–6781. Federal, State, and local agencies and interested parties are invited to be present or represented at the public hearing. Written comments can also be submitted during the open house sessions preceding the public hearings. Oral statements will be heard and transcribed by a stenographer; however, to ensure the accuracy of the record, all statements should be submitted in writing. All statements, both oral and written, will become part of the public record on the Draft EIS/OEIS and will be responded to in the Final EIS/OEIS. Equal weight will be given to both oral and written statements. In the interest of available time, and to ensure all who wish to give an oral statement have the opportunity to do so, each speaker’s comments will be limited VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:58 Feb 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 to three (3) minutes. If a long statement is to be presented, it should be summarized at the public hearing with the full text submitted either in writing at the hearing, or mailed or faxed to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Attention: Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet Sonar Project Manager), 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508–1278, Fax: 888–875–6781. In addition, comments may be submitted on-line at http://afasteis.gcsaic.com during the comment period. All written comments must be postmarked by March 31, 2008 to ensure they become part of the official record. All comments will be addressed in the Final EIS/OEIS. Dated: February 8, 2008. T.M. Cruz, Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E8–2810 Filed 2–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Notice of Proposed Information Collection Requests Department of Education. The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management, invites comments on the proposed information collection requests as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before April 15, 2008. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 3506 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide interested Federal agencies and the public an early opportunity to comment on information collection requests. OMB may amend or waive the requirement for public consultation to the extent that public participation in the approval process would defeat the purpose of the information collection, violate State or Federal law, or substantially interfere with any agency’s ability to perform its statutory obligations. The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management, publishes that notice containing proposed information collection requests prior to submission of these requests to OMB. Each proposed information collection, grouped by office, contains the following: (1) Type of review requested, e.g. new, revision, extension, existing or reinstatement; (2) Title; (3) Summary of the collection; (4) Description of the AGENCY: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 need for, and proposed use of, the information; (5) Respondents and frequency of collection; and (6) Reporting and/or Recordkeeping burden. OMB invites public comment. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Dated: February 11, 2008. Angela C. Arrington, IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management. Office of Vocational and Adult Education Type of Review: Extension. Title: Guide for the Development of a State Plan under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998). Frequency: Annually. Affected Public: State, Local, or Tribal Gov’t, SEAs or LEAs. Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden: Responses: 59. Burden Hours: 2,655. Abstract: The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), Title II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), Public Law 105–220 provides formula funding to States to support adult education instruction at the State level. Section 224 of Public Law 105– 220 required States submit to the Department their plan for how they address the requirements of the Act, including agreeing upon levels of performance identified in section 212. Congress did not enact new legislation prior to the expiration of the law in 2003, however, they continue to extend program appropriations for each additional year in annual appropriation laws, respectively. While it is unlikely that Congress will reauthorize the expired Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) this year, appropriations for FY 2008 was signed into law by the President on December 27, 2007. This Guide will continue to, as it has since the expiration of WIA advise States on how to continue their Adult Education programs. Requests for copies of the proposed information collection request may be accessed from http:// E:\FR\FM\15FEN1.SGM 15FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 32 (Friday, February 15, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8856-8858]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-2810]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Navy


Public Hearings for the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact 
Statement

AGENCY: Department of the Navy, DoD.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and regulations implemented by the Council on 
Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508), and Presidential 
Executive Order 12114, the Department of the Navy (Navy) has prepared 
and filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS/OEIS) on February 8, 2008, which evaluates the potential 
environmental effects associated with the use of mid- and high-
frequency active sonar technology and the improved extended echo 
ranging (IEER) system during Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training 
(AFAST) activities within and adjacent to existing Navy Operating Areas 
(OPAREAs) located along the East Coast of the United States and in the 
Gulf of Mexico. Navy OPAREAs include designated ocean areas near fleet 
concentration areas (i.e., homeports). OPAREAs are where the majority 
of routine Navy training and research, development, test, and 
evaluation (RDT&E) activities occur. However, Navy training exercises 
are not confined to the OPAREAs. Some training exercises or portions of 
exercises are conducted seaward of the OPAREAs and a limited amount of 
active sonar use is conducted in water areas shoreward of the OPAREAs. 
A Notice of Intent for this Draft EIS/OEIS was published in the Federal 
Register on 29 September 2006 (71 FR 57489).

[[Page 8857]]

    The Navy will conduct six public hearings to receive oral and 
written comments on the Draft EIS/OEIS. Federal agencies, state 
agencies, and local agencies and interested individuals are invited to 
be present or represented at the public hearings. This notice announces 
the dates and locations of the public hearings for this Draft EIS/OEIS.

DATES AND ADDRESSES:  An open house session will precede the scheduled 
public hearing at each of the locations listed below and will allow 
individuals to review the information presented in the AFAST Draft EIS/
OEIS. Navy representatives will be available during the open house 
sessions to clarify information related to the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. 
All meetings will start with an open house session from 5 p.m. to 7 
p.m. A formal presentation and public comment period will be held from 
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Public hearings will be held on the following dates 
and at the following locations: March 4, 2008 at the Tidewater 
Community College, Advanced Technology Center, Technology Theater, 
Faculty Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia; March 6, 2008 at Boston 
University, Kenmore Classroom Building, Room 101, 565 Commonwealth 
Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts; March 11, 2008 at the Crystal Coast 
Civic Center, 1st Floor, Quads 1 and 2, 3505 Arendell Street, Morehead 
City, North Carolina; March 13, 2008 at the Charleston Harbor Resort 
and Marina, Atlantic Ballroom, 20 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, 
South Carolina; March 18, 2008 at the Florida Community College at 
Jacksonville, Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts, Lakeside Conference 
Room, 11901 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida; and March 19, 2008 
at the Florida State University, Panama City Campus, Auditorium, 4750 
Collegiate Drive, Panama City, Florida.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, 
Atlantic, Attention, Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet Sonar Project Manager), 
6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508-1278; phone 757-322-
4767 for a recorded message; or http://afasteis.gcsaic.com.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Proposed Action is to designate areas 
where mid- and high-frequency active sonar and the IEER system 
training, maintenance, and RDT&E activities will occur, and to conduct 
these activities. AFAST training and RDT&E activities involving active 
sonar and the IEER system are collectively described as active sonar 
activities in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. These active sonar activities 
are not new and do not involve significant changes in systems, tempo, 
or intensity from past activities. The purpose of the Proposed Action 
is to provide active sonar training for U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet ship, 
submarine, and aircraft crews, and to conduct RDT&E activities to 
support the requirements of the Fleet Readiness Training Plan (FRTP) 
and stay proficient in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine Warfare 
(MIW) skills. The FRTP is the Navy's training cycle that requires naval 
forces to build up in preparation for operational deployment and to 
maintain a high level of proficiency and readiness while deployed.
    The FRTP requires Basic Unit Level Training (ULT), Intermediate 
ULT, and Sustainment Training. The Navy meets these requirements during 
Independent ULT, Coordinated ULT, and Strike Group Training. At the 
beginning of the cycle, basic combat skills are learned and practiced 
during basic Independent ULT activities. Basic skills are then refined 
during Coordinated ULT. Strike Group Training is integrated training 
using progressively more difficult, complex, and large-scale exercises 
conducted at an increasing tempo. This training provides the warfighter 
with the skills necessary to function as part of a coordinated fighting 
force in a hostile environment with the capacity to accomplish multiple 
missions.
    Surface ships and submarines participating in the training also 
must conduct active sonar maintenance pier side and during transit to 
the training exercise location. The active sonar maintenance is 
required to ensure that the sonar system is operating properly before 
engaging in the training exercise or when the sonar systems are 
suspected of operating at levels below optimal performance.
    Additionally, RDT&E provides the Navy the capability of developing 
new active sonar systems and ensuring their safe and effective 
implementation for the Atlantic Fleet. The RDT&E activities analyzed in 
the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS are similar to, and coincident with, Atlantic 
Fleet training events and have not been previously evaluated in other 
environmental planning documents.
    The Navy's need for training and RDT&E is found in Title 10 of the 
USC, Section 5062 (10 U.S.C. 5062). Title 10 U.S.C. 5062 requires the 
Navy to be ``organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and 
sustained combat incident to operations at sea.'' The current and 
emerging training and RDT&E activities addressed in this Draft EIS/OEIS 
are conducted in fulfillment of this legal requirement.
    The Draft EIS/OEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of 
four alternatives. Under Alternative 1, Designate Fixed Active Sonar 
Areas, fixed active sonar areas would be designated using an 
environmental analysis to determine locations that would minimize 
environmental effects to biological resources while still meeting 
operational requirements. These areas would be available for use year-
round. Under Alternative 2, Designate Seasonal Active Sonar Areas, 
active sonar training areas would be designated using the same 
environmental analysis conducted under Alternative 1. The areas would 
be adjusted seasonally to minimize effects to marine resources while 
still meeting minimum operational requirements. Under Alternative 3, 
Designate Areas of Increased Awareness, the results of the 
environmental analysis conducted for Alternative 1 and 2 were used in 
conjunction with a qualitative environmental analysis of sensitive 
habitats to identify areas of increased awareness. Active sonar would 
not be conducted within these areas of increased awareness. The No 
Action Alternative can be regarded as continuing with the present 
course of action. Under the No Action Alternative, the Navy would 
continue conducting active sonar activities within and adjacent to 
existing OPAREAs rather than designate active sonar areas or areas of 
increased awareness. The No Action Alternative is the Navy's 
Operationally Preferred Alternative.
    The Navy analyzed potential impacts on multiple resources 
including, but not limited to, the marine environment, marine life, and 
socioeconomic resources. No significant adverse impacts are identified 
for any resource area in any geographic location within the AFAST Study 
Area that cannot be mitigated, with the exception of exposure of marine 
mammals and sea turtles to underwater sound. NMFS has received a 
request for Letter of Authorization (LOA) in accordance with the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act to authorize the incidental take of marine 
mammals that may result from the implementation of the activities 
analyzed in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. In addition, the AFAST Draft EIS/
OEIS will serve as the Biological Evaluation (BE) to enter into 
consultation with NMFS in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) to authorize the incidental take of endangered or 
threatened marine mammals and sea turtles that may result from the 
implementation of the

[[Page 8858]]

activities analyzed in the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS. ESA consultation is 
complete once NMFS prepares a final Biological Opinion and issues an 
incidental take statement.
    The AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS was distributed to Federal, State, and 
local agencies, elected officials, and other interested individuals and 
organizations on February 8, 2007. The public comment period will end 
on March 31, 2008. Copies of the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS are available for 
public review at the following libraries: Portland Public Library, 5 
Monument Square, Portland, Maine; New London Public Library, 63 
Huntington Street, New London, Connecticut; Kirn Memorial Library, 301 
East City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia; Carteret County Public 
Library, 210 Turner Street, Morehead City, North Carolina; Charleston 
County Public Library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston, South Carolina; 
Jacksonville Public Library, 303 North Laura Street, Jacksonville, 
Florida; Bay County Public Library, 25 West Government Street, Panama 
City, Florida; Corpus Christi Public Library--Central Library, 805 
Comanche, Corpus Christi, Texas; Boston Public Library--Central 
Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts; Ann Arundel County 
Public Library, 1410 West Street, Annapolis, Maryland; and Camden 
County Public Library, 1410 Highway 40 East, Kingsland, Georgia.
    The AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS is also available for electronic public 
viewing at http://afasteis.gcsaic.com. A paper copy of the Executive 
Summary or a single CD with the AFAST Draft EIS/OEIS will be made 
available upon written request by contacting Naval Facilities 
Engineering Command, Atlantic, Attention: Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet 
Sonar Project Manager), 6506 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 
23508-1278, Fax: 888-875-6781.
    Federal, State, and local agencies and interested parties are 
invited to be present or represented at the public hearing. Written 
comments can also be submitted during the open house sessions preceding 
the public hearings. Oral statements will be heard and transcribed by a 
stenographer; however, to ensure the accuracy of the record, all 
statements should be submitted in writing. All statements, both oral 
and written, will become part of the public record on the Draft EIS/
OEIS and will be responded to in the Final EIS/OEIS. Equal weight will 
be given to both oral and written statements.
    In the interest of available time, and to ensure all who wish to 
give an oral statement have the opportunity to do so, each speaker's 
comments will be limited to three (3) minutes. If a long statement is 
to be presented, it should be summarized at the public hearing with the 
full text submitted either in writing at the hearing, or mailed or 
faxed to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Attention: 
Code EV22 (Atlantic Fleet Sonar Project Manager), 6506 Hampton 
Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23508-1278, Fax: 888-875-6781. In 
addition, comments may be submitted on-line at http://
afasteis.gcsaic.com during the comment period. All written comments 
must be postmarked by March 31, 2008 to ensure they become part of the 
official record. All comments will be addressed in the Final EIS/OEIS.

    Dated: February 8, 2008.
T.M. Cruz,
Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register 
Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. E8-2810 Filed 2-14-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P